Have you ever read a book that you absolutely loved but you don’t think that many other people will get it? That’s exactly how I feel about Women. This short, stripped down story of a relationship just…spoke to me. It’s honest and raw and funny and sad and managed to give me all of the feels. It felt like I had stolen someone’s diary and was illicitly gobbling up the details of their life – a bit like when you come across someone who over shares everything on social media and you fall down a rabbit hole
stalking learning everything about them.
I don’t usually like books that are either self published or haven’t had a lot of money spent on them because you can just feel the cheap – the oddly worded sentences, the rubbish cover page and the super obvious title (not to mention the typographical errors and misprints). I don’t know what it is exactly, but Women somehow feels like it fits into this category. Despite scoring a cover quote from Lena Dunham (I personally have nothing against her, but if you do then don’t let it put you off) it’s obviously not going to be a bestseller and it definitely has an air of “debut author/limited budget” about it. However, that all seems to form part of it’s charm and actually enhances the appeal of the book rather than detracting from it.
I think it’s the quality of the writing. Chloe Caldwell writes with the most unflinching honesty and has elevated the tale of a fairly short lived, obviously doomed relationship from one of navel-gazing self pity to raw exploration of human emotion. I loved that all of her characters were so flawed and that they acted in completely illogical ways because it made them real. I loved the detail, I loved the depth, I loved the characterisation. I even loved the sex scenes because again, they felt so honest. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the sex is detailed but not titillating, relatable but not comedic, orgasmic but not euphemistic. It’s so rare to see a character with unshaven legs and half her clothes still on having incredible sex and it’s this unashamed female gaze/queer perspective that makes this book stand apart.
Overall, I loved this novella so, so much that in pretty much devoured it all in one go. Like watching a car crash in slow motion, I just couldn’t tear myself away. I can’t wait to see what Chloe Caldwell comes up with next.
Rating: Five gut wrenching cries (lust, anger, joy, frustration and crazy monkey sex) out of five.
Passionate, realistic #ownvoices realistic lesbian fiction. Finally.
Please note that I read this book for free via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks Netgalley! I also read this novel as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2018 #15 Read a one-sitting book.